Amherstburg residents informed about new mega-hospital project

 

 

By Adam D’Andrea

 

Those looking for answers about the new Windsor-Essex hospitals system found many of them at the Libro Credit Union Centre last Wednesday night.

During a meeting hosted by the Town of Amherstburg, members of the hospital’s program and services steering committee presented information, answered questions and cleared up misconceptions and rumours about the project widely referred to as the “mega hospital.”

“It really isn’t a mega hospital project,” said Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare president and CEO Janice Kaffer. “What we’re talking about is a redefinition of the health care system, the hospital system, in the Windsor area.”

Windsor Regional Hospital president and CEO David Musyj (front) speaks alongside Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare president and CEO Janice Kaffer and former MPP and cabinet minister Dave Cooke at the Libro Credit Union Centre on April 13. The Town of Amherstburg hosted the meeting so residents could obtain more information on the new Windsor-Essex hospitals system. (Photo by Adam D’Andrea)

Windsor Regional Hospital president and CEO David Musyj (front) speaks alongside Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare president and CEO Janice Kaffer and former MPP and cabinet minister Dave Cooke at the Libro Credit Union Centre on April 13. The Town of Amherstburg hosted the meeting so residents could obtain more information on the new Windsor-Essex hospitals system. (Photo by Adam D’Andrea)

Kaffer then explained the proposed aspects of the new hospital system plan, including the brand new single-site acute care hospital on County Road 42 and an urgent care centre on the former Grace Hospital site. The plan also calls for the Windsor Regional Hospital Ouellette Campus to be redeveloped to support outpatient mental health and chronic disease management, as well as the redevelopment of the Hotel-Dieu Tayfour Campus to include a new 60-bed acute mental health wing.

“There’s also some conversation about how there are going to be less beds in acute care,” Kaffer said. “The only smaller number of beds is related to the transfer of those mental health beds to the Tayfour Campus.”

WRH president and CEO David Musyj spoke to the 50 in attendance, explaining Windsor’s progress in the five-step process to obtaining a new hospital system. The process is likely to take around 15 years from start-to-finish. Windsor is currently in between step one, a master plan, and step two, functional programs.

“Where we’re at right now is a stop sign. We’re in discussions with the Ministry of Health in getting to stage two. So the way it works right now, is we’re in the ‘if and when’ phase,” Musyj said. “Once you get to stage two, the ‘if’ is gone. It’s just a matter of when.”

The WRH president also addressed the controversy surrounding the location chosen for the proposed acute care site on County Road 42.

“We said the one thing we know for sure is when we announce the location of the new acute care site, to some people it’s going to be wrong,” said Musyj. “Some people are going to want it in their backyard and it’s not going to be there.”

According to Musyj, switching the location of the site now may give off the impression that the region is not taking the process seriously and could result in Windsor getting pushed to the back of the line for government funding. Retired nurse Sharon Pilon attended the meeting and echoed Musyj’s sentiments that the location should not be changed.

“When I hear people fighting over the location, we’ve got to get it together folks. That is such a minor point,” said Pilon. “Process was followed and people had an opportunity for input. So let’s just get a shovel in the ground and get going, or 10 years from now I don’t know where health care is going to be in this area.”

But what can the community do to ensure that the process for the new hospitals system runs smoothly and efficiently? Musyj said the first step is to get involved and learn about the project. The second step is to get on the phone, open your laptop or pick up a pen to tell the local mayors, councillors and wardens that you support the new hospitals system.

“Send him or her an e-mail, send him or her a letter saying I support you. They need to hear that. They hear the same naysayers we hear. They want this thing to stop because it’s not located in the right location that they want.”

For more information about the new Windsor-Essex hospitals system, visit www.windsorhospitals.ca.

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